For the second time in three games, Robert Gsellman entered a critical juncture of the game for the Mets, got two outs but allowed at least one base runner. And in both instances, Callaway called for struggling left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins to replace Gsellman against a left-handed batter. It did not work either time.
Reliable the past two seasons, Blevins has a 5.59 earned run average in 2018. Worse, he has struggled in his primary role, with left-handers batting .269 against him going into Sunday’s game.
On Sunday, Blevins replaced Gsellman with two runners on, two out and the Mets still up by two runs. Blevins’s job was to get out Travis Shaw, a dangerous left-handed batter who nevertheless had just a .184 average against left-handed pitching when Sunday’s game began In his career, Shaw was 0 for 2 against Blevins and 3 for 7 against Gsellman, so the switch by Callaway made sense even if the sample sizes were small.
“You have to lean toward the numbers a little bit,” Callaway said.
But the switch didn’t work, although luck was part of it, too. Shaw poked the ball into shallow left field for a run-scoring single. On came another reliever, Paul Sewald, who surrendered a flare to right field by Domingo Santana that scored two more runs and put the Brewers ahead, 7-6. Another hit off Sewald made it 8-6 and gave the Brewers the cushion they eventually needed to win the game.
“I don’t think I’ve been this angry with baseball in a while,” Blevins said afterward.
Blevins said he has felt “great” on the mound of late, but it did not show on Sunday, which had been an opportunity to reward Callaway’s faith in him. Blevins has been asked to face just one batter 13 times this season and he has failed to get an out on six of those occasions.
“I can’t say frustration any more,” he said. “Anger right now.”
As for Ramos, he dealt with some shoulder tightness in spring training and the issue did not resurface until Saturday, when he informed the team. He, and Flores, join an injury list that also includes Yoenis Cespedes (hip), Anthony Swarzak (oblique) and Frazier (hamstring). And meanwhile, the Mets who are playing are hardly thriving.